Reflections from Minnesota – Day 1

Today was our first full day in Minnesota.   We arrived at about 5:30 pm local time yesterday – bleary-eyed, stiff and tired, but very thankful to have arrived safely.  The drive was long but in its own way a good bonding time.  I’m really glad that we took the Northern Route again (crossing into the USA at Sault Ste Marie – not Sarnia or Detroit).  Quieter, less traffic, and far more interesting than driving on freeways the whole way.  And we avoid Chicago!

We discovered a great little country diner along US Route 2 in Upper Michigan when we made this trip last year, and visited it again this year for breakfast after a night of driving.  Good coffee, great hash browns, tasty bacon and sausage, home made bread, even home-made strawberry jam!   Can’t beat it.  I think it will become a family tradition, since it seems likely we’ll be making this trip again.

Church this morning was powerful.  The worship was deep and intimate, hunger for God was evident, the message was probing and challenging.  Lately I have been sensing a real stirring of desire for God to do a fresh work in me – I felt it again today.  I want to see revival!  I love many things about my home church, but sometimes it seems to me that we have gotten to a point where we take God’s mercy for granted.  Sometimes we are so casual about God.  This morning was anything but casual.  Yes, God is kind, but He is also holy.  Yes, He draws us into His presence and is full of mercy, but He is also far above us.  This morning I was stirred up again to seek God with all my heart, and to live for His Kingdom.  I want to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

Sophie was dedicated to the Lord today!  Afterwards we had a great brunch, courtesy of the Youngdale family (Heather’s parents, who live next door, and their children – 5 of the 8 still live with them).  Marion and I are so grateful that our son married a woman who comes from a godly family.   They are also a very hospitable family – very gracious and welcoming.

It is great to see Simeon serving the Lord with his gift of music, and growing both in technical skills and in faith as he serves at Bethany House of Prayer.   Although we don’t get to see Simeon, Heather and Sophie as often as we would like, we know they are where  God has called them to be, and it is exciting to see how God is stretching their faith as they face and meet new challenges.   Marion and I will have to find ways of grandparenting that suit the situation.  Probably we’ll find a place somewhere in Upper Michigan or Northern Ontario where we can have an annual Hartgerink family camping reunion.

It was a privilege to hold and pray for my granddaughter today.  It is good to see Marion holding and cuddling Sophie, and Bethany and Joe getting to know their niece – a new experience for them.  It is wonderful to see Sophie surrounded by the circle of love as her Youngdale aunts and uncles, and Grandma and Grandpa, take turns taking care of her.

It is also a great joy to be able to do things for my children.  My parents were incredibly kind to Marion and me when our children were small, and now we have the awesome privilege of blessing our son and daughter-in-law, and their children, in whatever ways God opens up to us.   We are so blessed.  Thank you, God – you are good.